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More people able to afford their housing solution would herald a "fixed" housing market, says housing minister

Week in Westminster

Published: 3 March 2017 | Author: Michelle Vosper

In the long term a “fixed” housing market would be one where a far greater proportion of people are able to afford their housing solution, according to housing minister Gavin Barwell.  Speaking to the  CLG committee on their inquiry into capacity in the home building industry, the minister answered a range of questions on the housing white paper. In respect of the emphasis given to modern methods of construction within the white paper, Mr Barwell commented that it was one part of the solution which would enable homes to be built more quickly, by those with different skill sets, more affordably. The minister acknowledged the critical role government could play in encouraging lenders to have confidence in modern method homes, and the importance of continued dialogue with the lending industry.

Housing white paper

The housing white paper was also the main focus of a debate in the House of Lords on the Economic Affairs committee report on Building More Homes published last July. On the whole the peers taking part in the debate were relatively complimentary about the housing white paper proposals, some of which were recommended within the Lords report. However, Lord Forsyth of Drumlean pointed out the policy contradictions between the government wanting to increase competition in the building industry encouraging the involvement of small and medium-sized builders, and the Bank of England imposing increased capital weighting requirement on smaller banks, the main source of finance for these firms. Responding to the debate, government whip Lord Young of Cookham said he would raise this issue with both the Treasury and the PRA.


Conservative MP Andrew Selous asked the prime minister if she would ensure that the practice of developers selling houses on a leasehold basis will be brought to an end. Responding Theresa May said that the government will consult on a range of measures to tackle unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold. She went on to say, “Other than in certain exceptional circumstances, I do not see why new homes should not be built and sold with the freehold interest at the point of sale.”

HCA introduction of fees

Following its consultation on the introduction of fees for social housing regulation, The Homes and Communities Agency has confirmed that it will delay in the introduction of fees until October 2017. Providers will pay 50% of the annual fee for 2017 to 2018.

And finally...

According to the headline report of the English Housing Survey for 2015-16:

  • Owner occupation rates remain unchanged at 63% for the third year in a row. The proportion has declined since it hit its peak of 71% in 2003.
  • 34% of households were outright owners while 29% own with a mortgage – the proportion of mortgagors has declined from 31% in 2013-14.
  • The private rented sector remains larger (20%) than the social rented sector (17%).
  • The proportion of social renters who expect to buy at some point in the future has increased from 24% to 27%. However, there was no change in the proportion among private renters which remains at 59%.